Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Balls and Ramps

Caption: This is a picture of Caitlyn and I working on our balls and ramps activity.
For this project we were asked to construct a ramp that would meet certain criteria when a ball was rolled down it. The ramp had to include a six inch decline, a four inch incline, and was supposed to stop rolling 6 feet after it last touched the ramp (My group had a little trouble with the last one). In this picture Caitlyn and I are trying to figure out a way to slow down the ball enough to make it roll only six feet. We were having a difficult time finding a way to slow it down enought to make it roll only six feet and were unable to do it partly because of the incline of the floor. The majority of our time working on the ramp was spent trying to figure out how to make it stop. Caityln and I were the only people in our group, so we were constantly bouncing ideas off of each other on how to best construct the ramp.
I enjoyed this teaching activity. It showed me the importance of allowing students to try to solve problems on their own instead of telling them what they should do and think. In this activity we had to think for ourselves on how to best construct a ramp instead of having someone think for us and tell us how to do it. I think one important aspect of this activity is that a value should be placed on thinking for yourself. There are many activities out there that teach you things and that try to tell you what you think, but this activity was different because it actually required that you think for yourself. I really enjoyed this activity and as a teacher I must make sure that I incorporate activities that require my students to think for themselves.
This activity definetely relates to inquiry. In this activity we were trying to figure out how the ball and ramps worked with each other. We determined that the faster a ball was traveling the more friction we had to use against it to make it stop. We also determined that the higher we dropped the ball from the faster it would go. These were two things we discovered while working on this project. We definetely gained knowledge from this activity by thinking for ourselves. This is related to inquiry, because inquiry is the search for knowledge.

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